Global Head, Citi Private Bank
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Unity is indeed strength.
When confronted by a potent common enemy, unity is vital. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a stark reminder of this. Individuals, communities, and organizations the world over have achieved much by coming together – figuratively, of course – during the present crisis. Our shared discipline in following social distancing guidance, for example, and our displays of solidarity with victims and frontline medical workers are helping to achieve progress. Even as the global death toll tragically approaches 300,000, the growth rate of new cases is now falling in many of the most affected countries. Unity is indeed strength.
That said, there is much more that the world could do to come together. International cooperation between governments has sometimes fallen short during the pandemic to date. Geopolitical tensions amid COVID-19 and beyond were explored in our client call this week with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. His analysis of the outlook for US-China relations are especially worth hearing, as are his insights into how the international community might collaborate to make an eventual vaccine universally available.
Collaboration beyond borders goes to the very heart of what Citi Private Bank stands for. The power of such collaboration is one of the key messages of our newly released Global Citizen film. Mohamed Amersi and his Foundation are making a remarkable contribution to the fightback against the pandemic. Feeding frontline medical workers, supporting the development of life-saving medical equipment, and assisting in the search for effective tests and treatments are just a few of the initiatives in which they are currently involved. In Mohamed’s own words: “Our shared humanity transcends borders of nationality, color, faith, and whatever else divides us.” We look forward to sharing further cases of how global citizens are leading the fightback against COVID-19 very soon.
When it comes to reopening the economy, coordination will also be critical. In their latest weekly report, David Bailin and Steven Wieting emphasize the need for governments and business to work closely together. The more that they do so, the better the chances of both a faster economic revival and fewer new infections. So far, the fiscal and monetary policy responses to the pandemic’s fallout have proved effective. As such, investors seem to be expecting a rapid rebound from the recession. While such confidence itself can assist in bringing about recovery, it also creates risks of its own, as David and Steven point out.
As we continue to endure restrictions and uncertainty, we must ensure we make regular time for ourselves to refresh the mind. Throughout the ages, visual art has provided much-needed tranquillity and reflection in challenging times. By the same token, such periods have often engendered wonderful creativity. This is a theme that Mary-Kate O’Hare of our Art Advisory team explores in her new article “‘The Thing with Feathers’: Art and hope in challenging times.” Over the coming weeks, we will bring you more stories of how artists have harnessed their creativity in response to crises.
I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who wrote to me in response to our recent series of musical interludes. I am delighted you found the Philharmonia Orchestra’s performances as powerful as I did. In response to your warm virtual applause, it is only right that we offer you an encore. The first movement of Rachmaninov’s First Symphony weaves together melancholy, mystery, and darkness, but also a glorious passionate energy. It seems an especially fitting piece in light of the profusion of emotions and feelings we have all experienced over recent months.